The United States recognized Finland as an independent state in 1919. In that year, the United States assisted Finland with deliveries of food through an organization led by Herbert Hoover. Since then assistance has been in the form of loans, all of which have been repaid. This has contributed to the development of friendly relations between the countries. The American public expressed great sympathy for Finland during the Winter War, and, although the United States ambassador was recalled in June 1944 after Finland's decision to continue the war against the Soviet Union, the United States did not declare war on Finland. In the postwar period, Finnish-American relations have been exceedingly cordial. Even though political considerations did not allow Finland to participate in the Marshall Plan after World War II, in the immediate postwar years, Finland received about US$200 million in credits from the United States to help rebuild its industrial base.
Both Kekkonen and Koivisto paid state visits to the United States, and United States presidents have occasionally expressed their support for Finnish neutrality. In early 1983, however, the supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe, United States general Bernard Rogers, expressed uncertainty about the Finns' desire to defend themselves. His press conference remarks caused much consternation in Finland. Other military officials have since praised Finland's defense readiness; among them was United States admiral William Crowe, who paid Finland an official visit in 1986 as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
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